GM Reports March Sales Surge 16%

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General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) on Tuesday posted U.S. March sales of 296,341 vehicles, an increase of 16% compared with March 2017. Retail deliveries rose 14% in the month to 231,156 units and fleet deliveries rose to 22% for the month, up 1.3 percentage points year over year.

In a separate press release, GM said that beginning this month the company would no longer report U.S. sales figures monthly. Going forward, GM will report sales figures quarterly: on July 3 for the second quarter, October 2 for the third quarter, and January 3, 2019, for the fourth quarter. The schedule means that sales data will be released before quarterly earnings reports.

GM reported 762,776 units in inventory at the end of March, down by 16,602 from the total at the end of February. That represents a 72-day supply, down from an 85-day supply at the end of last month.

GM’s new vehicle sales for March were forecast at 275,000 by analysts at Cox Automotive. Kelley Blue Book analysts also estimated an average transaction price of $40,037, up 0.6% month over month and up 3.9% year over year. KBB does not include applied consumer incentives to its calculation.

GM said average March incentive spending of 14.5% was up less than a percentage point.

March sales of the company’s top-selling Silverado pickup jumped by 23.9% year over year to 52,547 units, while GMC Sierra sales fell 7.5% to 17,082 units.

Sales of the Colorado midsize pickup rose 51.9% to 12,798 units, and the comparable GMC Canyon saw a sales increase of 9.4% to 2,723 units.

Cadillac brand retail sales jumped by 12.7% in March. Cadillac sales totaled 14,494 units in the month, driven by sales of the Escalade sport utility vehicle, ATS, and XT5.

Total Chevrolet deliveries in March rose by 15.6% year over year to 199,367 units, with retail sales rising by 11.5% to 149,089 units. The Chevy Equinox SUV posted a sales increase of 40.9% in March, and the Impala full-size sedan saw a sales drop of 14.7%. The Equinox is the Chevy brand’s second-best selling vehicle, behind Silverado.

The company’s Buick brand saw a year-over-year sales increase of 28% in March, including a jump of 22.2% in retail sales. The Buick Encore posted a year-over-year sales gain of 82.3%, and Envision sales rose 21.8%.

For the auto industry as a whole, GM’s forecast for the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 2018 sales rose by 100,000 units to 17.2 million.

GM’s stock traded up by about 3.5% Tuesday morning to $37.01, in a 52-week range of $31.92 to $46.76. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $47.96.

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